Seahawks’ Carroll: NFL wishes they’d called pass interference in 49ers game

Jan 2, 2020, 9:12 AM | Updated: 9:17 am
Seahawks HC Pete Carroll...
Seahawks HC Pete Carroll thinks the NFL wishes they'd called pass interference Sunday. (Getty)

The controversial no-call on third down at the end of the Seahawks-49ers game has been heavily discussed since the game’s conclusion.

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On that play, Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister was in the middle of the end zone when he and 49ers linebacker Fred Warner collided on a pass that was intended for the Seattle tight end. No flag was thrown for either defensive pass interference or defensive holding.

The next play Russell Wilson found Hollister over the middle, but he was stopped inches short of the goal line and the Seahawks lost 26-21.

This season, there are new rules with pass interference that allows teams to challenge whether a penalty should have been called, or whether a pass interference penalty that was called should be reversed.

Since this play happened with less than two minutes left in the game, referees on the field can be told by the NFL’s officiating office in New York to stop the game to take a closer look.

While the game didn’t stop, Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riverton told Tim Booth of the Associated Press that the New York office did look at the play (full comments below).

“So, we actually did perform a review, but based on what we saw, we didn’t see enough to stop the game,” Riverton said. “But we did review it. What we see is, we see the offensive player come in and initiate contact on the defensive player – nothing that rises to the level of a foul which significantly hinders the defender, nothing that is clear and obvious through visual evidence, which hinders the defender. The defender then braces himself. And there is contact by the defender on the receiver.”

At head coach Pete Carroll’s press conference on Wednesday, he said he’s been in contact with the league’s office and feels the NFL wishes a penalty would have been called against San Francisco.

“They wish that they would’ve called a pass interference. They can look and see, and they would’ve called pass interference, I think,” Carroll said. “That would probably be the feeling I got because you easily could’ve called it, and nobody would’ve complained about the call other than the guy that grabbed him. That would’ve made everything a whole lot cleaner and all that. It’s difficult for those guys to put a flag down on the field. It’s got to be so egregious that there’s a standard to it. Had it been called on the field, they never would’ve overturned that from what I understand.”

Hollister told reporters that he felt it was a penalty, but that he has to move on to his next challenge, which is facing the Philadelphia Eagles in the opening round of the playoffs on Sunday.

“It’s a play that I wish would have been called, but everybody makes mistakes and like I say, you’re not going to get every call and we didn’t get that one, so you’ve got to move on from it,” he said. “You can’t look back … It is what it is. They didn’t call it and you just move on from it. That’s it.”

On Monday, Carroll said part of the issue is the league offices only look at the two angles that the TV broadcast provides when deciding whether or not to stop the game to look at a play.

“I can’t imagine if we want to work to make this thing as good as it could possibly be that we should be victim sometimes to what the TV copy has as opposed to all the other angles we can present,” Carroll said. “I think the coaches copy, along with the TV copy of a play that was in question in this game can be aided by seeing when the ball came out from the side view so that they can make a determination of where was the ball in the fight of the action and how that all happened. So, I think there are advances yet to go to make it even better. If we’re going to rely on an outside source to factor in, I think we should give them everything that’s available, not just what happens to be on their broadcast that day and they got a good of it or they didn’t.”

Carroll said that’s something the league has discussed and may change in the future. He also said the league is “working on stuff.”

“They’re way ahead of us. There’s no telling which way it’s going to go but, there’s going to be a lot of conversation going on about it again because we’re still trying to get it right,” he said.

Next up for the Seahawks is a road contest against the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs. A win could give Seattle a rematch with the 49ers in the divisional round.

Follow’s Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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Seahawks’ Carroll: NFL wishes they’d called pass interference in 49ers game